Las Vegas (NV) – On Wednesday at CES, Sony’s Walkman line of portable media devices received a total makeover as the company announced a brand new touch-screen, Internet ready portable media player. Deemed the X series Walkman, the device comes equipped with a 3-inch, 16:9 touch display. The company seems to be sending a direct message to Apple: “we started the portable media game with the Walkman radio, and we’d like to redeem ourselves”.
X Series Walkman
The player includes digital noise cancellation, which is said to be more effective and accurate than the previous analog noise cancellation feature used in other Sony Walkman devices.
One of the most impressive features on the device is the addition of wireless Internet functions. This will be the first Walkman to have Internet capabilities. Sony claims the X Series will come equipped with direct access to YouTube via a menu feature. Users will be able to download Podcasts and surf the net on a yet-to-be named web browser. Using the device will be much like using the iPod touch. The X Series Walkman’s browser will not support Adobe Flash-based sites, but will still be able to surf the rest of the web.
The X Series will be available in 16 GB and 32 GB capacities, with standard audio file support including MP3, WMA, AAC, and MPEG-4, AVC, and WMV for video viewing.
The cost of the device has yet to be released, but Sony claims the device will hit shelves this Summer. See Sony’s X Series Walkman page for additional pics.
W Series Walkman
Sony used CES 2009 as an opportunity to announce another Walkman series, called the W (for wearable). The device is in the same class as the iPod shuffle, having no screen. It is meant for someone on the go, running, working out, etc. The player itself is built into the included headphones.
The W is equipped with a feature called “Zappin” which is similar to a scan feature on a car stereo system, rather than scrolling through radio stations, it instead scrolls your music library. This allows users to sift through their music and stop on whatever song they wish, thus “zap”ing it.
Sony claims that the device takes a mere 30 minutes to charge fully, but the battery will only last for 12 hours under normal playback. This device will be offered at a relatively low price of $69 for 2 GB storage. It will be available in stores in the Spring. See Sony’s W Series Walkman page for additional pics.
Additional accessory devices
These devices will not be released alone. Sony plans to offer a line of Walkman accessories ranging from docks to headphones that are iPod compatible. Among the array is the ZS-S4iP Boombox that works with the iPhone, allowing one to take calls and listen to tunes simultaneously. At this point there is no release date for the dock, but it does come in white or black for $99. See Sony’s Walkman accessory page for additional pics.
Sony is now producing Extra Bass Headphones, the MDR-XB700, that offer heavy bass. Costing the consumer $129.99(!!), these headphones will be the most expensive in the Extra Bass line which also has other products costing less than $100, such as the MDR-XB500 and MDR-XB300. The Extra Bass line will be on the market and available in February. No image is available on Sony’s website for MDR-XB700. Below is shown an MDR-XB500.